Designing My First Logo

The classic DY logo.
The classic DY logo.

What makes a logo iconic? Balance. And the very first logo I made for myself back in January 2013 was quite the balancing act. Many factors come into play to make this logo visually equal in every aspect. In this case study, learn what makes a cohesive, well-balanced logo!



Programming Language

Designing My First Logo

If you’ve seen any of my Khan Academy computer programming projects, you’ve probably seen this emblem sitting in the bottom-right corner. I threw it together when I first started out on Khan Academy’s new platform, and it’s come to be so iconic, I have to reflect upon why I think it works so well.

An iconic, memorable logo is well-balanced and has an element of symmetry to it. Let’s see how well my first logo fits with this philosophy.

You might notice that this logo has just about every color of the rainbow. Every shape has its own color, and none are repeated. We have, in general rainbow order:

  • a dark red outline for the letter “D”
  • a peachy orange triangle under the letter “Y”
  • a golden yellow triangle inside the arms of the “Y”
  • a grassy green fill for the letter “D”
  • a sky blue background
  • a bluish-purplish outline for the letter “Y”
  • a magenta fill between the two letters

I used 7 colors. Yes, that’s way more than you should use in a typical logo. But none of the tones stand out in particular – they are visually equal to each other. The triangles around the “Y” are lighter, while the fills and outlines of the letters are darker. The dark and light shapes cover equal amounts of area, which makes for a good balance.

The inner shapes make up a square, which helps achieve a border effect. Because every element fills a part of this inner square, removing any element would disrupt the balance of the entire logo:

The classic DY logo in 6 different states, each with one element removed.
The classic DY logo in 6 different states, each with one element removed.

Not so iconic anymore, hmm? Balance and symmetry are key to making a cohesive logo that looks spectacular just about anywhere!

Ever since I made this logo, logo-making has become one of my hobbies! Check out all of my logos.

By | 2016-10-14T13:26:02-07:00 July 4th, 2016|4 Comments

About the Author:

Darryl Yeo is a young programmer, web developer, computer graphics artist, musician, and composer who hopes to inspire others through his projects and inventions. Read more about Darryl.


  1. Hannah Nicolson May 30, 2015 at 4:09 am - Reply

    This is really cool.
    I think you might have a mistake, though: In the third paragraph (starting with “You might notice”), I think you missed a “has” between “logo” and “just”.

  2. Isaac Essendrop November 23, 2015 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    wow, your good. so simple yet so amazing.

    • Darryl Yeo November 23, 2015 at 10:38 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Isaac! Glad you were inspired!

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